Student Observers who Work with Children are Not Required to Have Background Checks

By Michael Klazema on 2/2/2012

In a surprising decision to those who believe anyone who works around children in schools should have background checks done, the Marlboro, NJ school board voted 5-2 to not require student observers to have background checks. Student observers are those who are attending college to become a teacher. They are typically in a classroom for less than 20 hours and are not the same as a student teacher, who takes on a more active role in interacting with students. A student observer, however, is in the classroom and has access to children.

Though these student observers are not actively teaching, their access to the students have some parents and community members concerned. The school board says that student observers are not left in the classrooms alone with students, others say that it happens often. For a teacher, a student observer can act like an assistant. Though they are not supposed to be teaching or spending time alone with kids, many of them are invited by the teachers to actively interact with the class.

One of the main reasons that student observers are not required to go through background checks are cost and time. The policy of the Marlboro school board is to require those who have contact with students, like teachers, volunteer and staff, to go through a criminal background check and to be fingerprinted.  Though it has been suggested that the student observers or university be required to pay for the fingerprints and background checks, the school board still states that it will take extra time and paperwork for the district and it may not be worth it for a person who will only be in a classroom for less than 20 hours.

If it is found that any student observer who may have a criminal record and who was not background checked had been allowed in a classroom, the distinct could be in legal hot water. This is important to remember for all companies who may perform background checks on some employees, but not all employees. This is especially true for schools or any company that caters to children, the elderly or other service organizations.

Companies like offer excellent products that will allow companies to get a complete criminal background check on their employees. One of these products is called US OneSEARCH and it will pull criminal records from all 50 states. Using companies like these can help protect the reputation of a company and make a company safer for all.

About - - a founding member of the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) - serves thousands of customers nationwide, from small businesses to Fortune 100 companies by providing comprehensive screening services.  Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, with an Eastern Operations Center in Chapin, S.C., is home to one of the largest online criminal conviction databases in the industry. For more information about backgroundchecks’ offerings, please visit


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